How Lidiia Iakovleva shared her skills with more than 500 gymnasts around Australia and New Zealand

When many used the COVID-19 closure of clubs to rest and recharge, young Rhythmic Gymnast, Lidiia Iakovleva took the opportunity to showcase her skills and mentor gymnasts from across Australia and New Zealand.

From Aspire Gymnastics Academy in Brisbane, 16-year-old Iakovleva reached out to clubs across the two countries, offering them free online training.

“My objective was to keep my peers engaged and motivated during these tough times,” Iakovleva said.

“I wanted to give back to the sport that I am so deeply passionate about.

“The most pleasing part was to see gymnasts happy after my classes. It is an amazing feeling knowing you have made a difference and provided value to them.”

After her initial disappointment of the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, Iakovleva created a sense of positivity and enjoyment in helping others continue to enjoy gymnastics from their home.

As part of her offering, Iakovleva conducted free online training for each of the 18 clubs and 500+ gymnasts that were interested to join, providing them with one class of 1.5 hours per week.

The online training commenced in mid-March and concluded in mid-May with Iakovleva offering up to 2 months and around 90 hours of her time to train alongside other gymnasts.

“I feel inspired and humbled by the accolades from my peers,” Iakovleva explained.

Not only did Iakovleva initiate her own free online training sessions to assist the development of the next generation, she also found the time to improve her own skills by taking part in a number of her own club online classes that were being offered by elite coaches from around the world.

Now as gymnasts from both countries return to the gym and to their training programs, Iakovleva’s focus has also returned to her dream of one day competing for Australia at the Olympics.

“My message to other gymnasts is to stay positive, listen to your heart, follow your dream and believe in yourself.”